Ponyboy compares himself to Pip in Dickens's novel Great Expectations because, like Pip, he is born into low social standing, but he wants to grow up to be more refined. Ponyboy hates that other people, including the members of the Socs, look down on him when, for example, he uses a switchblade for a dissection in biology class. Still, he has the goal of doing well in school and finding something better. He is a dreamer and relishes sunsets, reading novels, and going to the movies alone. By the end of the book, his goal is to turn the story of what happened to him and to Johnny into a book to let other people know about the experiences they went through and to let the world know that even Greasers have dreams.
Another of Ponyboy's goals is to remain with his brothers, Sodapop and Darry. Though Ponyboy initially experiences a great deal of friction with Darry, his older brother, by the end of the novel, he realizes that he loves Darry and that Darry truly cares about him. Darry is only tough on him because he wants Ponyboy to achieve something in life.